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Sussex tempt back Gillespie for coach's role

Jason Gillespie is back in English cricket Getty Images

Sussex have announced Jason Gillespie as their new head coach.

The decision ends a period of increasingly feverish speculation in which Matt Prior, the former England wicketkeeper, lobbied publicly for a role in a club that he believes has "gone soft".

Gillespie's move to Hove, following a brief spell working with Papua New Guinea, represents an about-turn on a decision to commit his future primarily to Australia.

When he stood down as Yorkshire head coach last year, having led them to successive Championship titles, he said that the move of his family back to Australia had made it impractical for him to serve as a full-time coach in English county cricket.

He was linked with the England role before Trevor Bayliss took charge in 2015 and also had a brief spell as Kent bowling coach earlier this year where the pull of the county circuit remained strong.

Further reflection has caused a change of mind as Gillespie takes on the talk of reinvigorating a county that dominated English cricket under the tenure of Peter Moores in the first decade of the century.

He will find a club with exciting bowling stocks - Jofra Archer and George Garton are arguably the two most exhilarating young quicks in the country - but with vulnerabilities in their top-order batting, made worse by the premature retirement through injury of Matt Machan and the departure of their experienced opener, Chris Nash, to Nottinghamshire.

A Sussex statement said: "We are thrilled that Jason has agreed to join us on an initial three-year contract. He will take up his post in the New Year, in time for our pre-season preparations and tour."

Gillespie, who will spend the rest of the year in Adelaide, where he coaches Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash, said: "I am thrilled to be given the opportunity of taking the reins at such a proud and traditional club like Sussex. I know that there is some excitement around the capabilities of the current playing group.

"I look forward to getting over there and playing my role in helping Sussex achieve its on and off-field goals for 2018 and beyond."

It remains to be seen whether Gillespie will take up Prior's lobbying for a role within the county where he spent his entire first-class career. But Prior has already tweeted his enthusiasm for a "fantastic" appointment, adding: "It's a very good start to the club moving forward."

Rob Andrew, Sussex's chief executive, said: "Jason is exactly the experienced head coach we had hoped we would attract to the role. He has enormous experience of the English county game after his very successful spell with Yorkshire.

"We believe we have a very talented young squad and we need a bit a bit of stability and a coach of Jason's experience to help mould a successful team over the next few years."